This year has seen some incredible experiments with popular music: most recently, Kanye West continued the growth of his streaming album, The Life of Pablo, adding a 20th track to the list as though he were updating the software itself. Now, in celebration of the summer solstice, old heroes are coming back home.
Sigur Ros has invited fans along for a tour of their home country, Iceland, to commemorate the longest (and for some, hottest) day of the year. “[I]n a day and age of instant gratification and everything moving so fast, we wanted to do the exact opposite,” said vocalist and guitarist Jónsi Birgisson. “[S]low tv is counter-active to the world we live in, in that it happens in real time and real slow.” Broadcasting via YouTube and a TV channel called Rúv 2, the band’s visual experiment goes beyond the basic concept of a stream inspired by The Truman Show: along with the broadcast, the band’s latest single will be changing and remixing in real time using generative music software known as Bronze.
Using Bronze, the band’s single “Óveður” will mix with an unreleased song to transform over the course of the entire trip, all the while aiming to create “a unique ephemeral sonic experience,” according to the stream’s description.
The stream itself is something akin to watching a meditation video or Bob Ross, with haunting melodic tones that fade against mountains and forests (or, at the time of this writing, the pit stop where the band is crashing overnight). Yet, in a similar manner to Twitch’s widely popular Bob Ross marathon, viewers can’t stop watching.
In total, the trip (which the band is calling “Route One”) is expected to span about 24 hours, and the band intends to hit major Icelandic landmarks, including a massive ice sheet called Vatnajökull, the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón, the east Fjords, and the black sands of Möðrudalur. With roughly ten hours left to go, the chat is still bustling with fans from all over the world. A steady stream of roughly 2,000 viewers are currently tuned into the stream, waiting for the sun to rise over Iceland.